Hello, friends! This has been a widely requested topic for some time now and I am so excited to finally share my Drunk Elephant skincare review with you! Before I dig into this post I do have to clear the air regarding one thing: price. Drunk Elephant is not necessarily a cheap skincare brand. Their products range from $18 to $134. With that being said, these products last for quite some time. I purchased my products at the end of June and most of them lasted me until December! I also firmly believe that with many things, you get what you pay for in the quality of these products. Drunk Elephant is a reputable company and only uses the highest quality in their products. They are pure, reliable, and effective! //
For most of my life I had clear skin. I never had to worry about breaking out. I used streamline products (think Neutrogena, Clean & Clear, L’Oreal, etc) and never took time to read labels or investigate ingredients and additives in my skincare. I based my skincare decisions on TV ads, price, and convenience. I was SO bad at washing my face. I would rarely go to bed without some remnants of eye makeup or foundation still present (cringe). If I got a breakout, I picked at it until it went away. Somehow, I maintained pretty clear skin. //
Fast forward to my mid-twenties. My husband, Zach, and I just moved from Milwaukee to Kansas City for his job with Amazon. Following our move, my skin started changing drastically. I started seeing breakouts on my forehead which gradually progressed to the rest of my face. The breakouts were big, red, and painful. I lathered on makeup anytime I left the house. Working as a nurse in a procedural environment didn’t help; we have to wear surgical masks for the majority of the day. Putting it simply- I was FREAKING out. I began jumping between multiple skincare brands, hoping that one might have a magical effect. I started seeing estheticians, who insisted on chemical peels and harsh products containing benzoyl peroxide. I tried eliminating dairy, alcohol, carbs, and finally a Whole 30, with no success. Throughout all of this, we were planning our wedding from two states away. I thought it could be stress related so I started incorporating more stress relief: epsom salt baths, diffusing essential oils, meditation, and yoga. //
I started seeing an esthetician who put me on the Skin Reality system, ensuring success within 90 days. I was sold. I had exactly 90 days before our wedding when I started the products from Skin Reality. While I know many people have seen dramatic results from this brand, I only saw my skin deteriorate more. My skin was flaky, dry, and felt so tight that I couldn’t even smile. To top it off, my acne wasn’t getting any better. I knew something had to change when we were on our honeymoon. I felt incredibly self conscious leaving our condo without makeup for a day at the beach. When I ran out of makeup before our flight home, I was nearly in tears. //
I had tried a couple Drunk Elephant (DE) products a couple years ago while going through an experimental skincare phase. I revisited their site and was immediately drawn to their philosophy: all of their products do not contain what they refer to as the “Suspicious 6”. These ingredients include silicones, essential oils, chemical sunscreens, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), drying alcohols, and fragrance/dyes. Why are these additives detrimental to skin, and ultimately, internal health? And why, specifically, does Drunk Elephant choose to eliminate them from their products?
Silicones: They give moisturizers and serums a silky smooth finish. And although they are advertised as essential for locking in moisture on/in the skin, they can also trap dirt, bacteria, and dead skin. This can lead to breakouts, irritation, and congestion. Silicones are not only good at trapping stuff in. They’re also good at keeping things out! Anything applied to the skin following a product with silicone is not absorbed as readily, decreasing potency. *Also known as dimethicone, cyclomethicone, or dimethiconol*
Essential Oils: Don’t get me wrong, I love essential oils! But not on my skin! I tried using essential oils (tea tree oil, frankincense, lavender) in the fall of 2017. Instead of clearing my skin, my sensitivities increased. Essential oils are derived from florals and other plants. Although they can be anti-fungal and anti-microbial, they can also be harsh on facial skin.
Chemical Sunscreens: Chemical sunscreens can also increase skin sensitivity, contributing to acne and other skin issues (eczema, psoriasis, etc). Instead of sitting on top of the skin and acting as a barrier to UVA and UVB rays, chemical sunscreens are absorbed into the skin. These toxic additives can then circulate throughout your body. Examples of chemical sunscreens include: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate (check out Environmental Working Group for more information).
SLS: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a surfactant. It creates those foamy bubbles when washing your face, hair, hands, and body. It is in EVERYTHING; nearly all personal care products! While we all love a good suds, SLS has been marked toxic for human use by many countries. Sadly, the United States is not one of them. SLS can cause irritation by stripping the skin of its natural oils. Absorbed through the skin, SLS can be toxic to the kidneys, liver, and heart.
Alcohol: Plain and simple, alcohols in skincare dehydrate the skin. Drying the skin too much can can cause a reverse reaction; oil production increases because the skin thinks it needs to hydrate itself!
Fragrance/Dyes: Fragrances, often referred to as perfume or parfum in skincare, are used to mask the naturally occuring scents of certain ingredients. Dyes are used to create a “pretty” appearance for consumers. Neither are necessary in skincare and can cause irritation.
DE also stresses the idea that less is more. Our skin is constantly bombarded with perpetual product rotation, overuse of product, too many products, makeup, harsh chemicals, and over stimulation. Simplifying a skincare regimen to a few effective products can maximize your results and ultimately heal your skin. DE recognizes that skin, as the largest organ in the body, requires particular and consistent care. //
Before we even returned from our honeymoon I placed a DE order. I overhauled every single one of my products. Immediately after our return to KC, I started using a consistent DE regimen. I told myself I would give these products 100 days to prove their efficacy. After just over two months of using strictly DE products, I experienced a change in my skin I had been hoping to see for over a year! See below for my before and after photos:
YOU GUYS! The aftermath of using DE still blows my mind. Not only did my skin see dramatic improvement, my confidence increased substantially! I leave the house without makeup. Let me say that again… I leave the house without makeup! I no longer feel like I’m hiding under layers of makeup, self doubt, and lack of confidence. My skin is smooth, hydrated, nourished, and predictable. //
I didn’t get here without some serious effort. I look forward to my skincare routines (listed below!). Even if I’m exhausted from a long day or coming home late at night, I still follow through with my skincare regimen. Consistency is key! And, let’s not forget, a skincare regimen is just a piece of the puzzle for skin health. There are other equally important components; diet, exercise, sleep, and managing stress. More to come in future posts on all of those necessities! //
DE Product Review
My DE Regimen consists of 9 products; some are used both morning and night and others are used either morning or night. What I find so wonderful about these products is that they can be mixed together to create the desired outcome you wish to see, individualizing your skincare! Genius! //
My first step always involves cleansing my face. Whether that is with just water in the morning or with a cleanser in the evening, it is so important to start with a fresh face. I use DE’s Pekee Bar in the evenings to wash away all remnants of makeup, dirt, and bacteria. It is sooo creamy and doesn’t strip the skin of its naturally produced oils. After I cleanse with the Pekee Bar I don’t feel the immediate need to moisturize, which means my natural facial oils remain intact through the cleansing process. //
Following that, I mix together two of three serums each morning and evening. In the morning I use the B-Hydra Intensive Hydrating Serum with the C-Firma Day Serum. The B-Hydra serum gives my skin a little extra boost of moisture. Especially during the dry months of winter and while working in a hospital, my skin tends to take a beating in the moisture department. This serum helps to retain every last ounce of moisture in my skin. Its texture is incredibly silky! The C-Frima Serum is a Vitamin C serum that works to brighten and reduce the appearance of acne scars. Since DE doesn’t add any perfumes to its products, the C-Firma Serum retains a slight musty smell that is characteristic of true Vitamin C. By mixing these two serums together, I create a personalized serum that targets dehydrated skin and old acne scars. At night, I make my serum concoction using the B-Hydra Serum and the T.L.C Framboos Glycolic Night Serum. The T.L.C Serum is an acid exfoliant that clears dead skin cells and renews the skin’s texture, bringing forward clear and soft skin. By reducing the buildup of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, this product directly reduces the chance of developing a breakout. It tingles slightly as it goes on. Acid exfoliants tend to be safer for skin. Physical exfoliants (think cleansers or masks with micro-beads) can cause extremely small abrasions and tears on the skin, creating more problems than solutions. The acid exfoliants can be more potent and more effective, especially if clear skin is on your bucket list. Since this glycolic serum is pretty potent, I like to mix it with the B-Hydra to slightly dilute it. //
After I apply my serums, I moisturize. During the day I like to use a lighter moisturizer so that my makeup goes on smoothly and seamlessly. I really like the Protini Polypeptide Cream as a daily moisturizer. It is incredibly light yet still very moisturizing. If my skin feels especially dry, I add a couple drops of the Virgin Marula Oil. I have found that a little of this oil goes a long way! With just a couple drops, my face is glowing! During the summer months, I only use 2-3 drops of the Marula Oil under my makeup. Since we live in a very humid city (hello Kansas City summers) I don’t always feel the need to add more hydration to my skin. The Marula Oil also works great to sooth cracking cuticles, calm frizzy hair, and moisturize dry elbows and knees. In the evenings I use the Lala Whipped Cream. This stuff is a skincare goldmine. It is thick, creamy, and extremely luxurious. I massage just one pump into my skin at night and it transforms my tired, dry skin. When I wake up in the morning, my skin is just as moisturized as when I went to bed! //
I top off all of my skincare with a small pump of DE’s under eye serum, Shaba Complex. I don’t necessarily feel like I need an eye cream at this point in my life, but I’m all about preventing dark circles and wrinkles. The Shaba serum is very light and easy to apply so it’s no extra hassle. //
Finally, in the morning I apply my SPF, the Umbra Tinte. This product is tinted but there is another version available that is not. This sunscreen is a physically blocking product. It does not contain the chemical sunscreen (listed above) that are not safe! Think of it this way: costal states and countries are taking action to ban sunscreens that contain these chemical components because they are KILLING coral. If these products are so harmful to other living organisms, imagine what they are doing to you! The Umbra Tinte glides smoothly onto the skin. It is slightly thicker than your average SPF. Occasionally, I will add a couple drops of the Marula Oil to thin it out. It goes on so well under makeup and acts as a primer for foundation. If you take one thing away from this post, I beg you to start using sunscreen every day! Even if you work indoors and barely see the sun (I see all you Midwesterners in the winter), wearing SPF every day is vital to maintaining healthy skin. VITAL. Your skin is your largest organ; protect it! //
Here is my skin as of yesterday!
Consistency is key when maintaining clear, healthy skin. Developing a regimen that works best for you can be frustrating. Stick with it and continue to have a positive outlook. Drastic change like this takes time. You won’t suddenly have clear skin overnight! With any new product or regimen, give yourself at least 90 days before you start readjusting or changing your products. Although I hate to admit it, I still get acne. My skin isn’t perfect yet; it’s still recovering, and that’s ok. //
At this point, I’m still not sure why I suddenly developed adult acne. I suspect the usual culprits: bad diet choices, new environment, and continual stress. Since then, I’ve cleaned up my diet, removed what toxins and chemicals I could from my surroundings, and learned to manage my stress. More on these topics later! //
Skincare can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Don’t know where to start? Below is a simplified explanation of my current skincare routine:
My Current DE Regimen
After I get up in the morning, I simply splash my face with lukewarm water. I don’t typically use a cleanser as I find my skin dries out more quickly if I do. That is followed with:
I currently use a product that is not from DE to remove my makeup. I’ve been using One Love Organics Vitamin B cleansing oil + makeup remover. I am liking this product but if you have recommendations for a clean makeup remover, let me know! After removing my makeup:
Drunk Elephant has completely changed my skin. I’m so happy I decided to take the DE plunge last summer. Questions? Let me know! //
Until next time!